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History & Heritage


AlUla: Wadi AlFann to be home to five groundbreaking artworks

The Valley of the Arts is set to host five permanent land artworks that take direct cues from the natural setting of AlUla, Saudi Arabia. These creations are seen as an opportunity for the site to promote a local, authentic and compelling art economy and ecosystem.

Sustaining AlUla’s heritage

By 2024, the Royal Commission for AlUla plans to inaugurate a new chapter in the history of art and legacy in AlUla. A meeting point of societies from the Arabian Peninsula, the Mediterranean world and Asia, AlUla has witnessed 200,000 years of human memory. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has served as a setting for the evolution and continuity of the Arabic language and humanity’s relationship with the natural environment. The five commissioned works are intended to be the first in a long series that will mark in stone the relationship between man, art and nature. Wadi AlFann intends to build an unprecedented, ambitious and visionary showcase of contemporary artworks that will continue to write this history.


Decorating the landscape or blending in

Wadi AlFann will offer a unique opportunity to experience art in dialogue with nature. The art project at the site is directly inspired by the topography of the undulating panoramas and the architecture of the AlUla landscape. The works will be created and introduced with respect for the place, against the backdrop of its cliffs and canyons. Indeed, the artistic performance is primarily based on the themes of invisibility.

Furthermore, respect for the biodiversity and natural heritage of the region remains a priority. No initiative for the reintroduction of wildlife or for the protection of flora and fauna should be hindered by art. The pavilions, footbridges and lookouts on the site will therefore be made of locally sourced materials and their location will be designed to allow the free movement of animal species.


An artistic, cultural and economic commitment

The Valley of the Arts has placed its trust in five artists: Manal AlDowayan and Ahmed Mater from Saudi Arabia, the Americans Michael Heizer and James Turrell and Agnes Denes from Hungary.

Each of the artistic structures will harmonize not only with nature but also with the themes of collective memory and the representation of women. All the creations will include environmental and cultural aspects. Humanity, authority, materiality, nature and the play of senses and perception are the key words of the Wadi AlFann project. Among other things, the site will house a labyrinth, designed by AlDowayan, whose architectural sculpture reproduces the ancient spaces of Arab countries with walls imitating the style of the rock.

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Boosting the local economy and art

The AlUla Royal Commission also hopes to provide an economic and artistic boost to local development. The Wadi AlFann project has already created many jobs in the area and now intends to encourage a new generation of arts professionals. Indeed, the main objectives of Vision 2030 are the diversification of its economic activities as well as the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a major tourist destination. Wadi AlFann should therefore gradually welcome many art lovers from all over the world in search of an enriching cultural and aesthetic journey!

See you in 2024 to discover the official opening of the Art Valley!

Published on 28 June 2022


#Saudi Arabia